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Europe one of the seven continents history essay

Support Aeon Donate now How and why did the modern world and its unprecedented prosperity begin?

Continents

One of the oldest and most persuasive explanations is the long political fragmentation of Europe. For centuries, no ruler had ever been able to unite Europe the way the Mongols and the Mings had united China.

It was rather what is known as a classical emergent property, a complex and unintended outcome of simpler interactions on the whole. The modern European economic miracle was the result of contingent institutional outcomes. It was neither designed nor planned. But it happened, and once it began, it generated a self-reinforcing dynamic of economic progress that made knowledge-driven growth both possible and sustainable.

How did this work? It meant that European rulers found themselves competing for the best and most productive intellectuals and artisans. The costs of European political division into multiple competing states were substantial: Many scholars now believe, however, that in the long run the benefits of competing states might have been larger than the costs.

In particular, the existence of multiple competing states encouraged scientific and technological innovation. The idea that European political fragmentation, despite its evident costs, also brought great benefits, enjoys a distinguished lineage.

If conservative rulers clamped down on heretical and subversive that is, original and creative thought, their smartest citizens would just go elsewhere as many of them, indeed, did. A possible objection to this view is that political fragmentation was not enough.

The Indian subcontinent and the Middle East were fragmented for much of their history, and Africa even more so, yet they did not experience a Great Enrichment. Clearly, more was needed. In 1769, for example, Matthew Boulton wrote to his partner James Watt: Writing such a book involved fixed costs, and so the size of the market mattered.

If fragmentation meant that the constituency of each innovator was small, it would have dampened the incentives. Europe one of the seven continents history essay early modern Europe, however, political and religious fragmentation did not mean small audiences for intellectual innovators. Political fragmentation existed alongside a remarkable intellectual and cultural unity.

Europe offered a more or less integrated market for ideas, a continent-wide network of learned men and women, in which new ideas were distributed and circulated. European cultural unity was rooted in its classical heritage and, among intellectuals, the widespread use of Latin as their lingua franca.

The structure of the medieval Christian Church also provided an element shared throughout the continent. In early modern Europe, national boundaries mattered little in the thin but lively and mobile community of intellectuals in Europe. Vives studied in Paris, lived most of his life in Flanders, but was also a member of Corpus Christi College in Oxford. Erasmus moved back between Leuven, England and Basel. But he also spent time in Turin and Venice. Such mobility among intellectuals grew even more pronounced in the 17th century.

Through the printing press and the much-improved postal system, written knowledge circulated rapidly. In the relatively pluralistic environment of early modern Europe, especially in contrast with East Asia, conservative attempts to suppress new ideas floundered. The reputation of intellectual superstars such as Galileo and Spinoza was such that, if local censorship tried to prohibit the publication of their works, they could easily find publishers abroad.

  1. Do you know before 1840, the Antarctic was called as Terra Australis Incognita meaning the unknown southern land. The Indian subcontinent and the Middle East were fragmented for much of their history, and Africa even more so, yet they did not experience a Great Enrichment.
  2. Indeed, the seas separating New Guinea from Australia are a shallow 250 feet.
  3. As a Texas businessman without climbing experience this was truly a daunting challenge. Read more about the Asian continent here.
  4. In that sense, knowledge-based growth is one of the most persistent of all historical phenomena — though the conditions of its persistence are complex and require above all a competitive and open market for ideas. Furthermore, some inventions still needed inputs from learned people even if they cannot be said to be purely science-driven.

For example, his Discorsi was published in Leiden in 1638, and his Dialogo was re-published in Strasbourg in 1635.

Books written in one part of Europe found their way to other parts. They were soon read, quoted, plagiarised, discussed and commented upon everywhere. When a new discovery was made anywhere in Europe, it was debated and tested throughout the continent.

The political metaphor was mostly wishful thinking and not a little self-flattery, but it expressed the features of a community that set rules of conduct for the market for ideas.

It was a very competitive market. They together established a commitment to open science. To return to Gibbon: This system produced many of the cultural components that led to the Great Enrichment: The natural philosophers and mathematicians of the 17th-century Republic of Letters adopted the idea of experimental science as a prime tool, and accepted the use of increasingly more sophisticated mathematics as a method of understanding and codifying nature.

The idea of knowledge-driven economic progress as the primum movens of the Industrial Revolution and early economic growth is still controversial, and rightly so. Examples of purely science-driven inventions in the 18th century are few, though after 1815 their number rises rapidly.

  1. Do you know the area of Antarctica continent keeps changing as per seasons! You would be surprised to know that in Antarctica ,time stands still - there are no time zones!
  2. Saudi-Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are also among richest countries in the world due to their oil reserves. It was neither designed nor planned.
  3. They together established a commitment to open science.
  4. In a way,the Antarctica is a cold desert.

Yet dismissing the scientific revolution as irrelevant to modern economic growth misses the point that without an ever-growing understanding of nature, the artisan-driven advances of the 18th century especially in the textile industry would slowly but ineluctably have ground to a halt.

Furthermore, some inventions still needed inputs from learned people even if they cannot be said to be purely science-driven. For instance, the marine chronometer, one of the most important inventions of the era of the Industrial Revolution though rarely mentioned as a part of it was made possible through the work of earlier mathematical astronomers. The first one was the 16th-century Dutch more accurately Frisian astronomer and mathematician Jemme Reinerszoon, known as Gemma Frisius, who suggested the possibility of what John Harrison the ingenious watchmaker who cracked this thorny problem actually did in 1740.

All of them were developed in the first half of the 17th century.

Continent Facts

Improved tools in physics, astronomy and biology refuted many misconceptions inherited from classical antiquity. The newly discovered notions of a vacuum and an atmosphere stimulated the emergence of atmospheric engines. In turn, steam engines inspired scientists to investigate the physics of the conversion of heat into motion.

In 18th-century Europe, the interplay between pure science and the work of engineers and mechanics became progressively stronger. In such systems, once the process gets underway, it can become self-propelled. In that sense, knowledge-based growth is one of the most persistent of all historical phenomena — though the conditions of its persistence are complex and require above all a competitive and open market for ideas. With fairly minor changes in initial conditions, or even accidents along the way, it might never have happened.

Had political and military developments taken different turns in Europe, conservative forces might have prevailed and taken a more hostile attitude toward the new and more progressive interpretation of the world.

There was nothing predetermined or inexorable in the ultimate triumph europe one of the seven continents history essay scientific progress and sustained economic growth, any more than, say, in the eventual evolution of Homo sapiens or any other specific species as dominant on the planet. One outcome of the activities in the market for ideas after 1600 was the European Enlightenment, in which the belief in scientific and intellectual progress was translated into an ambitious political programme, a programme that, despite its many flaws and misfires, still dominates European polities and economies.

Notwithstanding the backlash it has recently encountered, the forces of technological and scientific progress, once set in motion, might have become irresistible. The world today, after all, still consists of competing entities, and seems not much closer to unification than in 1600.

How Europe became so rich

Its market for ideas is more active than ever, and innovations are occurring at an ever faster pace. Far from all the low-hanging technological fruits having been picked, the best is still to come.

His latest book is A Culture of Growth: